A music production and music business program all in one!

As a USF DARA major, you will become a musically competent professional. You’ll gain the technical knowledge to excel in today’s digital-based music production industry. You’ll also acquire the knowledge, principles and practices of engineering methodology and music production, while learning to turn your artistry into a viable and sustainable business.

Each DARA major will have a prolific portfolio of work with a resume that illustrates his/her exceptional abilities. You’ll be equipped for success as an audio engineer, music industry entrepreneur, creator of user generated content or a recording artist.

In the studio, you’ll remix and reshape audio loops, create MIDI compositions utilizing various MIDI editors and controllers, and capture, edit, mix and master audio using USF’s state-of-the-art facilities.

The DARA Studio includes digital audio workstations that run Avid Protools and Ableton Live as host DAWs. Students use a myriad of embedded plug-ins and virtual instruments, an extensive microphone selection, a tracking room, sound booths, a control room and editing suites to create their musical masterpieces, at which point the value of the DARA program and coursework will truly reveal itself.


  • Audio Engineer
  • Music Industry Entrepreneur
  • Recording Artist
  • User Generated Content


The University of St. Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.


“If being in the music industry has taught me one thing, it’s that a solid foundation and full understanding of whatever you’re doing is key. For audio engineering, music composition, and technical troubleshooting the DARA program gives students exactly that. I implement things I’ve learned from DARA on a daily basis here in Nashville. Students would be lucky to have the opportunity to study in the cutting-edge DARA studios with the incredibly knowledgeable & helpful instructors.” 

–Jeff Glasscock ’17, Band Lead/Lead Guitar for country artist Nick Hickman

“The DARA program provides a learning avenue for anyone wanting to excel in the music industry. From the industry standard equipment and computer programs in the studio, to the up-to-date information being taught on this ever changing industry, DARA prepared me for a career in music. The DARA program also taught me the importance of discovering and utilizing multiple income streams in music. I am forever grateful for the guidance, continued support, and opportunities this program has given me.”

– Grace Wojcik ’17, Royalty Consultant at Korrect Royalty Software

What Can You Do With This Degree?

DARA coursework is geared to provide the know-how, the means, and the wherewithal to monetize the student’s work and efforts.

Examples of potential careers include instrumentalist, singer, session musician, composer, orchestrator, arranger, conductor, studio/audio engineer, mastering engineer, record producer, live sound engineer, technician, editor, sound designer, studio owner, independent label owner, manager, music educator, music entrepreneur, music director, music therapist, publisher, booking agent, music attorney, arts manager, music marketing specialist, publicist, distributor, music retail manager, music equipment salesperson, recreation director… and the list goes on!

Grow Through Real-World Experience

Students will get a wealth of experience as they learn to define high level recordings; understand music and sonic architectures and structures; troubleshoot and solve problems encountered by audio professionals; work in a modern recording studio; conceptualize, plan, execute and deliver high resolution sound recordings and post-production projects that meet industry standards, and more. Students are encouraged to combine practical experience with their college curriculum through internships, which are a significant component of the DARA program. Employers say they look for students who have an internship on their resume, so the DARA staff recommends them for ultimate student success.

DARA OS Ensemble

DARA OS is an Electronic Ensemble that is part of the D.A.R.A (Digital Audio Recording Arts) department at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL. Students explore the use of music technology by writing original compositions and performing them live at local high schools. Seven Mac computers are synchronized together controlling MIDI sequencers, a DMX light show, and video creating an immersive musical experience.

DARA Sessions on WCSF

The DARA Sessions presented by WCSF is a 30-minute program of live music and interviews featuring local, national, and international recording artists recorded live by the students of the Digital Audio Recording Arts Program in the DARA studio at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL.

DARA Podcast: Musician Technician Entrepreneur (MTE)

The Musician Technician Entrepreneur podcast interviews successful music industry professionals to explore the paths and habits of “making it” in the 21 st century music industry. Sponsored by the Digital Audio Recording Arts at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL

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